Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 20 Quotes You Need To Read

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) was a German writer and statesman. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 20 Things You Need To Read

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) was a German writer and statesman. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most important of Goethe's works produced before he went to Weimar were Götz von Berlichingen (1773), a tragedy that was the first work to bring him recognition, and the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (called Die Leiden des jungen Werthers in German) (1774), which gained him enormous fame as a writer in the Sturm und Drang period which marked the early phase of Romanticism. During the years at Weimar before he met Schiller he began Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, wrote the dramas Iphigenie auf Tauris (Iphigenia in Tauris), Egmont, Torquato Tasso, and the fable Reineke Fuchs.

Here are some of his most memorable quotes:

1) “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (Faust: First Part)

2) “A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.” (Faust: First Part)

3) “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” (Collected Works)

4) “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship)

5) “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Elective Affinities)

6) “The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” (The Sorrows of Young Werther)

7) “There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.”

8) “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” (Maxims and Reflections)

9) “Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes”

10) “A person hears only what they understand.”

11) “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

12) “I have possessed that heart, that noble soul, in whose presence I seemed to be more than I really was, because I was all that I could be.”

13) “By seeking and blundering we learn.”

14) “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

15) “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”

16) “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

17) “We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”

18) “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

19) “Know thyself? If I knew myself, I'd run away.”

20) “To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”

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Thinking Humanity: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 20 Quotes You Need To Read
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 20 Quotes You Need To Read
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) was a German writer and statesman. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement.
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